Posted Monday, June 28, 2004 10:59 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Knott's Berry Farm has reopened its Xcelerator coasters after the state asked that the park modify its restraints following accidents at other parks with similar restraints. The seat sides were made larger, and a visual indicator shows minimum lap bar position.
Finally, a logical solution to the problem! It makes about a thousand times more sense than the SFNE retrofit. It also gives me the strong impression that it was the seat sides (or lack thereof) on Hydro that allowed the girl to get out.
Anywhere I can see some pictures? I know the SRoS mods LOOK substantial, but really the only thing that they did that made sense was the lap bar check belt and made the seat belts all a uniform length. The side supports and the shin restraints look and feel cheesy, not very solid...
Does the indicator actually prohibit the ride from dispatching? If not, is it something that could be easily missed? Where is the indicator light? Colossus at Thorpe (with overheads) has indicator lights on the side skirt under the step on the side of the trains which is just a visual indication as well as the fact the ride cannot be dispatched without bars down far enough.
On the B&M hypers, there is a limit switch on the bottom of the lap bar which tells the ride control system if the bar position is OK. It's still pretty unusual for the ride controls to see the status of a lap bar on a train in the station.
I thought Intamin's stand on all of this is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the restraints on any of their coasters provided they are used correctly. Whatever that means.
I wonder if the bars on the sides of the seat were changed specifically for the purpose of providing an indicator. I know that when I ride Millennium Force, the lap bar doesn't come down far enough to meet the side bar on the seat. There's no way for me to come out, and the loop is closed on both sides, but if there were a mark on the side of the bar there would be no way to know that it was down "enough" based on the side of that train.
-=-=- Moosh: Did they ever figure out the mechanical means by which the Plunge rider was ejected? The harness they came up with looks to me like a solution that will definitely prevent the incident from happening again, which does not require knowing what went wrong in the first place. Fixing the problem "right" requires knowing what went wrong in the first place. Installing a harness is a fix that doesn't require knowing what failed, as it bypasses the problem completely (while creating new problems). I think getting DOSH to accept another solution for Plunge will require demonstrating the mechanical means of failure, and addressing those particular failures.
If the Xcelerator "fix" satisfies the state, I have to wonder if the same modifications on Plunge would be in order (Plunge, if I remember correctly, has no seat sides at all, and might be too narrow to put them in). I tend to agree with Dave that the fighter jet harness was a poor solution that didn't get at the meat of the problem, not to mention it reduces the capacity of the ride to some ridiculously low number.
I doubt it is possible, but even IF they only had 2 seats per row on the plunge and ran one boat as they seem to do daily now, it would still load faster and safer than the present nightmare. There is room for at least 2-3 modified seats per row.
Here is a pic of SFA S:ROS restraints and another here. From talking to Ron, the operations manager (not sure of last name) at SFNE, I got the impression that this is not their permanent solution. He asked if there were any suggestions that would make the park better and the overall response was to do something about the new restraints. The suggestion was to maybe install restraints similar to TTD, and his response was that it takes longer than two weeks to build new trains. The goal was to get the ride(s) back up and running as quickly and safely as possible. I think there is the possibility to see all new trains on all the ROS's for next year.
There's no need to replace the entire trains, just the seats and the physical T-bar. The seats appear bolted to the chassis of the cars (see here, 2000) and apparently the seats on MF have been replaced once (see current, 2003). I doubt the hydraulic mechanism for the bar would need to be changed, so the bar itself could be replaced with the bent model matching the deeper seats (the Dragster model). It's still my opinion that this model, with the proper seatbelt length, solves the problems of the other seat designs, especially the entirely inadequate seats on the giant splash-down rides.
So the SROS seats aren't more contoured like the TTD seats? I noticed that TTD's were higher, and that you sat lower with your knees above your waist. I think that was discussed that the lower seat is safer. I am guessing from previous posts that this is not the case with SROS?
Right, all three Supermen are not built that way. Millennium Force is only slightly better, but the bar still touches your gut before it touches your thighs (and the straight vertical bar touches your testicles before the horizontal touches anything, which isn't exactly comfortable).